IVP - Online Pulpit - Ministry Apps: Using LifeGuides

November 1, 2011

Ministry Apps: Using LifeGuides

By Douglas Connelly

If you have used IVP’s LifeGuide Bible Studies, you know that the strength of this series is the way the guides lead people into a deeper interaction with the biblical text and then to relevant application of the text to their lives. You should also know that LifeGuides can be used to enhance and enrich your ministry as a pastor.

I’ve used quite a few of the study guides in my own preparation for teaching. As I led a small group focused on prayer, I worked through Lynne Baab’s guide Prayers of the Old Testament to nurture my own soul. I also modified three or four studies and used them with the small group to give us better insight into how we can pray for our own and others’ needs. A friend of mine led a prayer retreat for denominational leaders and passed out copies of the LifeGuide on The Lord’s Prayer at the end. He wanted the study guide to prompt the participants in the retreat to a continuing commitment to prayer.

Occasionally I get a letter or e-mail requesting a copy of one of the LifeGuides I have written. Most often the request comes from a man or woman in prison. There is usually an explanation attached about how the Lord found them in the darkest of life’s circumstances. Now they are filled with a new desire to know Christ in his fullness. Those requests led me to begin to use LifeGuides more consistently in my counseling and in my discipling of young believers. I have a supply of guides in my office and often put one into the hands of a new convert or a struggling believer, and encourage them to get into the Word on their own as they grow in their spiritual walk.

My point is that LifeGuides can be great tools in any pastor’s ministry and can be used in a wide range of situations and applications. They work wonderfully in traditional adult education and small group settings, but they can also help you minister more effectively to specific needs in your congregation.

LifeGuides will also enrich your own spiritual development and stir new insights to help you prepare that next sermon series. If you are considering a series on David, work through Jack Kuhatschek’s excellent guide on your own or with your staff or your worship team. You will find yourself thinking more clearly about how the series can be applied more personally and powerfully to your congregation. Prepare a series on the Ten Commandments by carving out time for a personal retreat. Take your Bible, Rob Suggs’s LifeGuide The Ten Commandments and a notebook. Leave the commentaries behind for a while and just let God’s Word and the Holy Spirit speak into your life. The message series will come alive in you before the congregation ever hears a word from the pulpit.

I enjoy the discipline of writing LifeGuides, but their influence on my life and ministry is far greater than the few guides I’ve been privileged to write. They work in so many situations simply because they lead people into the riches of God’s truth and that truth changes lives—even a pastor’s life.

connellyOP.jpgDouglas Connelly is the senior pastor of Parkside Community Church in Sterling Heights, Michigan. He is the author of several LifeGuide study guides for InterVarsity Press and has also written The Bible for Blockheads series for Zondervan.

Posted by Nate Baker-Lutz at November 1, 2011 11:00 AM Bookmark and Share

Comments

Blog makes good sense to me. Better than all commentaries is God's Word interpreting God's Word with the Holy Spirit as the ultimate tutor.

Comment by: Tom Murphy at November 2, 2011 1:58 PM

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